A City banker is seeking almost £3.4 million in “stigma losses” from French bank BNP Paribas, after claiming that winning a gender discrimination case against the bank has affected her earning potential.
Stacey Macken sued the bank for £4 million in 2019, winning the case after telling an employment tribunal of years of bullying at BNP Paribas, where she was paid less than men in comparable roles.
The tribunal heard how drunk male colleagues placed a witches’ hat on her desk, and how she was given undesirable roles described as ‘pink’ jobs, while male staffers were given better ‘blue’ roles.
Now Miss Macken, of Fulham, is claiming that winning that case has tarnished her reputation and is seeking a further £3,363,594 from the bank.
She said she suffers from anxiety, panic attacks and PTSD, and had lost friendships as well as work opportunities by going through the tribunal process.
“They have taken away my career and destroyed my life because I asked to be paid the same as a man,” she said in her witness statement. “I argue that the unreasonable, calculated and vexatious behaviour of the respondent has resulted in an unnecessary employment tribunal claim and proceedings.”
She added: “It is now known in the industry and is publicly available information that I brought an equal pay claim and sex discrimination claim against my employer. I have also had my professional reputation unfairly tarnished by being categorised as a poor performer.
“It is naive to think this will not severely hamper my future career. I had always hoped to take my career as far as possible and to maximise my earning potential. It is inevitable that I will suffer stigma losses.”
Miss Macken joined BNP Paribas in 2013 on a salary of £120,000 and stayed at the company after winning the employment tribunal. She said that after her tribunal win her salary was raised to £160,000, but that this figure was still not the equal of male counterparts.
In her new claim, beyond the multi-million “stigma losses” she is claiming for unpaid equal salary, aggravated damages, gross pension, interest and injury to feelings.
In 2019 the tribunal heard how male colleagues would say “not now Stacey” to Miss Macken when dismissing her questions, and that the phrase became a sarcastic catchphrase in the bank’s office.
A picture of a toxic workplace, in which crude sexual stories were told to Miss Macken by a senior staff member, was drawn. It heard that the same banker answered his phone by saying “hey sexy” or “hey f***face”.
In 2017 Miss Macken’s bosses said of her performance: “Stacey’s inability to accept constructive feedback… has led to a cascade of comments, accusations and recriminations which has led to the breakdown of her relationship with the management of the bank.”
Miss Macken asked the tribunal to instigate an equal pay audit at the bank, plus equality and diversity training for managers. “I would like to hope that something positive could come out of this awful situation,” she said.
A BNP Paribas spokesperson said that Miss Macken had already received full backpayment for fixed pay, bonus pay and pension contributions the tribunal deemed she was entitled to.
They said: “BNP Paribas recognises that it fell short in its duties to Ms Macken. It is determined to use this opportunity to strengthen its processes to prevent a similar situation arising again and has therefore engaged in a comprehensive remediation programme to address the shortcomings identified by the tribunal in its original judgment.”